London Fashion Week ss11 -Day 3 highlights

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*Mary Katranzou’s interior prints. I missed the show but saw everything up close on the stands. This young designer continues to raise the bar in her collections. Each one is better than the one before.


*Front row at Michael van der Ham. Sometimes you can time your arrival just so that a spare front row seat needs filling and you’re the nearest person to do it. I used my vantage point to eyeball Michael van der Ham’s acid-pastel hued shoes and crystal-adorned clutch bags up close. I love his colour palettes. For ss11, he’s pushing acid yellow, dove grey, cobalt blue and a medley of pinks. Having gained a following for his pieced-together collage dresses, he is now branching out into separates, including a covetable silk mannish trouser.


*David Longshaw. The LFW exhibition is vast and sprawling. Just when you think you have everything covered, you turn a corner and discover a whole other area. As I was about to give up the ghost near the end of the day, I came across David Longshaw, one of the Elle Talent Launch Pad winners. This new BFC-supported initiative gives emerging designers who have been in business for two years, further help and mentoring to nurture their careers. Longshaw is one of a new crop of designers who happily juggle many different plates. As well as his main collection, he creates his own prints, illustrates, writes stories and articles and has a blog (about a fashiony mouse). I liked his print scarves and the jewellery he has made in collaboration with Kirsty Ward.

*see more of my LFW coverage on the Style Compare blog

Breaking news: Church’s to open standalone women’s store

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News just in: Forget Louis Vuitton, Prada and Chanel, the only shoe destination you need in New Bond Street is about to open at number 163. Formerly a mens shoe shop, the new standalone Church’s store, ‘Lady Bond’ (according to my mole) will be dedicated to women’s shoes in unique colorways. These shoes will be made in Italy ( thanks to the Prada connection?) as opposed to Northampton.

I’m praying for highly-polished brogues, oxfords and lounge slippers in Laduree macaron shades – not much to ask I’m sure you’ll agree. ETA: end of November.

London Fashion Week ss11 -Day 2 highlights

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I’m seriously loving creative director Filippo Scuffi’s work for DAKS. Reminding me of APC and Margaret Howell, this is another label to add to my love of luxuriously utilitarian heritage basics. Factor in the minimalist-but-youthful styling by Cathy Kasterine (demi-wedges with socks, Celine-esque boxy tote bags) and it was well worth the 9am start.

*Louise Gray
The antithesis to DAKS’ sensible chic, Gray pushed her madcap mish-mash look to the limit. And I love her for it. How can you not adore an outfit consisting of bold block stripes, chiffon patchwork and mirrorwork applique?

*Topshop Unique’s genius show location
The Topshop Unique show was a bit too wacky for me (billowing chiffon kaftans drowning in crystals, clear perspex disco wedges, swishy cropped flares) but the location was a certified winner. The former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo was comandeered for the day, giving us a vast space to play with. The best view in the house went to a couple of office workers in the opposite building who couldn’t quite believe their luck.

*Alexis Mabille’s Pyrenex Premium AW10 launch
Being of a permanently cold disposition, I have developed an unhealthy fascination for posh Puffa*-wear (*actually, you’re not allowed to use the word ‘Puffa’ as a generic description – it’s a brand name – but ‘puffer’ doesn’t have quite the same ring…). Word arrived that couturier Alexis Mabille has collaborated with old school down brand Pyrenex to create a clothing line, so I had to investigate. Would the ex-Dior designer who now shows at Paris couture and has arguably elevated the bow tie motif to cult status magic up a bow-festooned collection? Hell no. But there is plenty of wit and whimsy.

Mabille was given a free reign by Pyrenex to unleash his creativity. “They picked me because I didn’t come from a sportswear background, they wanted something totally different,” he told me at his ‘boutique ephemere‘ in Dover Street. “As I’m coming from another direction I wasn’t constrained – it was super easy.” There are capes, ponchos, muffs and sequin gilets in the AW10 collection – about as far from the emerging minimalist mood as you can imagine. “I’m not crazy about minimalism. We have artisans and they know how to create interesting things,” he said. And what does Mr Mabille wear when there’s a nip in the air? “A special piece I made that didn’t go into production. It’s brocade, a copy of an 18th century fabric which I made up in red, purple and green silk and lined with fox fur. It was too elaborate to produce so I got to keep it for myself!”

The Pyrenex Premium shop is open until 30th September 2010

Read more of my London Fashion Week musings on Stylecompare’s new Style Platform blog…

Noughtie Nightlife Symposium

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The downside of attending LFW? I’m going to miss the (frankly unmissable) London College of Fashion ‘Noughtie Nightlife Symposium’ on Wednesday 22nd September.

To accompany the Noughtie Nightlife exhibition currently showing at Rich Mix, The LCF has brought together four youth culture heads to discuss all things clubbing, music and style-related. The symposium is from 2-6pm and the line-up consists of clubbing impresario K-Tron, stylist, designer and customising enthusiast (and owner of The Emporium), Fee Doran and Time Out’s longtime writer, photographer and general clubbing correspondent, David Swindells.

The fourth speaker is anthropologist, writer, and photographer Ted Polhemus who authored the 90s style bible Streetstyle which has just been updated and re-published by PYMCA.

For tickets and info, hurry here and be sure to report back…

UPDATE: Unlucky for others but lucky for me, this event has been postponed. I’ll update when a new date is announced.

London Fashion Week ss11 -Day 1 highlights

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*Prophetik’s show which was all very olde worlde civil war era styling with chambray ballgowns, pintuck blouses and equestrian details – sadly no photos as I was too busy Twitpicing Jimmy Choo’s shoes in front of me (a square-toed slip-on, fyi). Oh and a wee hillybilly band danced a jig at the end. J’adore.


*A proper lunch! I recommend the mussels at Lowlander opposite the Vauxhall Fashion Scout venue.

*Chatting to (fashion styling legend) Judy Blame outside The Sustainability Show. Blame was a pioneer of the now-fashionable upcycling movement, having started his fashion career in the eighties making jewellery out of anything and everything old, weird and wonderful he could get his hands on. He was at the show to support BFF Noki. And he admired my Eley Kishimoto (courtesy of WAH!) nails. *Faints*

*Orla Kiely’s movie. There are fashion films and there are fashion films. The unsmiling woman moodily lit with weird angles and conceptual storyline? Not for me, but give me youthful whimsy, Lula-esque styling, cake and balloons and I’m all yours. Orla’s presentation had an 8-seater cinema planted in the middle of a room showing her Gia Coppola-directed film on a loop. “It was all very spontaneous and low budget and was shot in two days,” Orla told me over a cake-on-a-stick. “I was talking to Leith Clark (Lula editor-in-chief and Orla Kiely collaborator) about what we could do and we came up with the idea of the film about a month ago. She offered to speak to Gia and Gia said yes!”

Read more of my London Fashion Week musings on Stylecompare’s new Style Platform blog…

Selfridges Shoe Galleries – what a shoe-ha!

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Last night saw the opening party of Selfridges’ Shoe Galleries (although the official opening is next week) and what a shoo-ha it was! The place is like nothing you’ve seen before – it’s apparently the biggest shoe department in the world and I can well believe it. After milling around for a while eyeballing the socialites and narrowly avoiding being knocked over by Viv Westwood, I ambled over to the Louboutin department to be serenaded by Paulo Nuttini (sporting a rather fine pair of ankle boots – whose, I wonder?)

The beauty of the Shoe Gallery is the sheer choice on offer – everything from Havianas to special order Loubs. I gravitated towards the Repettos, Acnes and a zillion versions of black patent court shoes from pretty much every brand. Plus I somehow found myself in the new Aubaine cafe surrounded by teeny tarte tartins, macaroons and eclairs. Funny that…



Style Compare launches blog with Disneyrollergirl

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This London Fashion Week I made a pact with myself not to cover the shows for anyone. For once I want to stick to my own agenda and pick and choose at will (and not have to file copy at 2am). Then I was asked to guest blog for Style Compare. I said yes. Doh!

Style Compare is a fashion price comparison website that narrows down your request to the nth detail. It currently partners with 35 online fashion retailers (including Asos, Mywardrobe and The Outnet), so if you’re searching for a £40 red V neck top, you really can fine tune your search and find what you want. In time it aims to feature emerging designers too, so it’s certainly catering to a wide audience.

Style Compare is launching its blog, STYLE PLATFORM, tomorrow and I’ll be posting some of my daily London Fashion Week observations there (and more here on Disneyrollergirl and on Twitter). So much for a nice, quiet LFW then…

Hot jean alert: J Brand’s Gigi

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When I attended Net-a-Porter’s infamous Denim Boutique launch back in June, one of the nuggets of news I picked up was its prediction for the Next Big Jean Shape. Denim and casualwear buyer Ben Matthew’s description of J Brand’s Gigi was “a cropped kick flare that hits just above the ankle before flaring out slightly”, which I have to say, did not appeal. It sounded a bit too much like Celine’s icky, tricky flood-length pant to me.

But how wrong I was. Just launched, the J Brand Gigi is a mid-rise skinny cut with the weeniest hint of a flare. Really not ‘booty’ at all. And I can see it looking very uptown with my Rupert Sanderson nude patent Veritys (the only heels that I can walk in) or ancient vintage Charles Jourdan little black kitten heels – plus a little boy shirt and my black pebbled Chanel tote. Apparently there’s a waiting list already. Of course there is.

On my radar: Work boots with a little bit extra…

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It’s good to see utilitarian looks being given a bit of extra snazz. Joe Casely-Hayford has revived the John Moore Paragon boot (cult 80s-90s work boot with commando sole and assorted rugged straps), introducing a 12-hole version. I have the originals which get many admiring glances but the Casely-Hayfords (below) are sadly only for guys at this stage. (Read the John Moore story over at Style Salvage.)
Meanwhile, JW Anderson’s heavy metal-adorned work boots (below) are accompanied by an equally hefty studded sock. I think these are mens too but I believe there may be smaller sizes available. I’m seeing these juxtaposed with khaki army surplus trousers (khaki and red, mmmmm) and a silk bourgeois blouse or Equipment shirt. Shoe designers: let’s have more of these in lady sizes please…

[Pics: Top to bottom:
Aitken Jolly
Style Salvage
Disneyrollergirl x 2

Style Bubble]

The future of fashion: inclusive or exclusive?

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Just as we get nicely comfortable with the idea of fashion for all, the goal posts shift again. Fashion’s Night Out was a fabulously jolly affair with customers, celebs and designers all happily sharing the same breathing space. This round of fashion weeks will have more brands than ever live-streaming their shows, while a number of designers and CEOs also tweet from behind the scenes (hello @vbfashionweek, @MarcJacobsInt). Marc Jacobs’ tweeter, CEO Robert Duffy has also been giving away bags and surfboards (eh?) to lucky tweeters, creating quite the fashion frenzy. Very caring, very sharing.

But just when it was getting so cosy and democratic – BAM! – all change. Yes Burberry is live streaming its show online and broadcasting it on screens in-store but those in-store iPads aren’t just for any old civilian. No, the in-store treatment is for a select few privileged customers, so while they get to watch, shop and quaff champagne in the luxe surroundings of Burberry’s serene-but-sexy temples, the rest can press their noses against the window and like it will have to make do with their iPad at home on the DFS with a cup of PG Tips for company.

Tom Ford made his much anticipated and (not-very-well-kept) secret comeback yesterday during New York Fashion Week and what a to-do there was. No live-streaming for Ford. Instead there was a small salon-style show where only a handful of VIP press were present and they were strictly instructed that “all photographic and recording devices are prohibited. Thank you.”

Ford introduced each outfit modelled by an all-star cast including Beyonce, Lauren Hutton and Julianne Moore. How thrilling! And the outfits? Well we won’t be seeing those for quite some time, the official pictures were taken by Terry Richardson (allegedly for French Vogue) and are embargoed until next year. Blimey, New York Fashion Week has never been this exciting. Ford has clearly decided that all this ‘fashion for everyone’ guff has reached its tipping point and is leading the charge in the opposite direction. At his preposterously luxe end of the market, he’s making a case for super-exclusivity, the kind where customers are more than happy to pay for the privilege of wearing something that’s not been seen on every other Tom, Dick and Sharon.

Is Ford onto something here? It was noted recently that Chanel has scissored its sample sale guest list. The Chanel sample sale invitation is already one of the most coveted perks in the fashion and beauty business and invitations are like gold dust. The culling of the list sent out a firm message; for all that they may be embracing bloggers, setting up etail sites and interacting on Facebook, there’s no doubt that exclusivity still has meaning for luxury fashion brands. Just ask Tom.